The Gathering

Short Story Day 106 of 365

When the Goddards got together every Christmas season, 60 people would go in and out of their front door. Not all at the same time, of course, but scattered throughout the day.

It was a big hassle, lots of work, and quite expensive to pull off, but Julia Goddard would have it no other way.

When some of the family couldn’t make it one year, they went out into the highways and byways and brought in a few homeless.

The local Goddard boys and their wives helped with some of the cooking because Julia’s kitchen was only so big. By Thanksgiving, they would have all their Christmas meal marching orders. Two of the three turkeys would be brought in, while Julia cooked her own when the crowd was still arriving.

Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, Goddard-original stuffing-a meal onto itself, stuffed cabbage, baked ham, five or six different pies, and turkey was on the menu every year. 

From ten in the morning until nine on Christmas Day, there was noise, gaiety, and laughter – and an occasional shouting match usually related to politics or sports. ‘Never a dull moment’ was the theme every year in that house.

Men watched football or played a pickup game outside while the women busied about in and around the kitchen and solved world problems while doing so.

Julia, an ER nurse by profession, was also commander in chief in the kitchen.

“Ok, I think we’re ready to take the turkey out. Teresa, could you pull that out for me and make sure that thermometer has popped up? It should’ve been done about a half hour ago.”

“Sure, Julia. I need some pot holders.”

“Right side of the sink, second drawer down.”

 Teresa grabbed the pot holders, reached in to pull out the turkey and the pan caught on something and it jerked. It spilled onto the open oven door and a small puddle on the floor.

“Ooo, looking good,” Teresa said. “Yep. It popped out.”

“Good, then go ahead and bring it over to the cutting board so it can sit for fifteen or twenty minutes. You can lift it, can’t you?”

Teresa gripped and lifted the pan, took one step and slipped on the spilled turkey grease. The turkey slid onto the floor.

The women in the room heard Teresa’s yelp and saw the turkey on the floor. Teresa grimaced and shook her head.

Julia said, “Quick, hand me those pot holders.”

Lifting the turkey back onto the pan with the pot holders, Julia carried the pan to the cutting board.

“What?” Julia asked, looking around at the ladies staring at her.

“Three-second rule. Probably 10 seconds for turkeys. Need I remind you that the incident stays in the kitchen, ladies. What, you think that’s the first time this has happened here?”


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